Giving Valentines Day a new meaning

first_imgA family from Greece will be celebrating Valentine’s Day this Sunday for a completely different reason. Mary Tserga, Antonis Bouzinos and their daughters found a new home on 14 February four years ago, 15,182 km away from Athens. “I don’t know if I’ll be celebrating with all my heart, but I’m getting there, one year at a time,” fashion designer Maria, who has for the first time moved away from her birthplace, tells Neos Kosmos.“It was a huge step to move from Greece to Australia.”“I will never forget saying goodbye to my family and friends at the airport back then; grabbing my four children and hopping on a plane to the unknown.”Maria doesn’t miss Greece itself as much as her loved ones. She misses the idea of Greece and the laid-back more vibrant lifestyle.“I am so sad to say this, but seeing what is happening in Greece, I feel lucky, mostly for my children.”“I believe they would have moved abroad anyway after a while and we would have been separated. Now, the whole family is together.”Maria set up her business again in Brisbane and within three year’s time she managed to build a sustainable clientele. Despite the alienation and the hurdles she first encountered, in retrospect, she feels grateful to have been offered this opportunity. “In the Lucky Country, there are no beds of roses, but if you work hard enough you can succeed,” she stresses.“Even if you just manage a small business, it is possible to survive and evolve even. In Greece, you will drown in red tape.”Her husband, Antonis, who was born in Germany and grew up in Athens, believes that as a family, they had completed their circle there.The ongoing crisis since the Olympic Games back in 2004, had led them through some very difficult economic situations.They felt they needed to find a path for growth and be productive professionally instead of stagnating amidst political and financial turmoil. “Even though Athens is a big city, it’s not much different to the Australian urban life,” Antonis, who is a geologist, adds.“However, we don’t live in the temple of Democracy anymore. We see the Acropolis every day unfortunately we don’t live in the way people think.”The crisis first started affecting Antonis’ work back in 2005, one year after the Olympics. “Construction started dropping. I was working at a geological lab. Jobs were declining and slowly affecting other industries. We could see the eminent catastrophe,” Antonis explains.“At some point we started thinking that there would be no future for our children a few years down the line. Even if they went to uni they still wouldn’t get the same opportunities in life.”Maria was also experiencing a decrease in orders in her business, and after several discussions, they decided to make the move and migrate.Antonis began to apply for jobs abroad, but as he told ABC’s radio in Brisbane, “At the time I thought I’d prefer to move to another European country.”Before he signed with his current employers, he was asked to come and experience firsthand the Australian reality, in order to make the right decision.“Down Under is a geologist’s paradise. When I came to Brisbane I realised it was beautiful, the people were kind, more relaxed.”“Another wonderful thing about Australia I tried to convey to my wife is the deep links it has with the Greek people, something that would make assimilating easier regardless of the distance.”“We have to move on,” they thought, and left frosty Athens to land in scorching hot Queensland on Valentine’s day.“I held my daughter when we arrived and told her ‘this is the day you’ll fall in love.”“In love with Brisbane.” Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img

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